Title: Inside Job
Director: Charles Ferguson
Written by: CharlesFerguson,Chad Beck, Adam Bolt
Starring: Charles Ferguson (interviewer), Matt Damon (narrator)
Length: 108 min.
Genre: Documentary, Video Inquest
Precise, accurate, detailed, one of the best journalistic reports produced in these years, “Inside job” analyzed the American crisis in 2008 with an expert eye by highlighting the strict connections between economy and political world.
The director and co-producer Charles Ferguson interviewed the characters of the story – MPs, bank and financial high rank managers, economists – by asking them biting and provocative questions.
Matt Damon lent his voice as narrator by leading the viewers in this world made of easy high profits, wealth, and political powers assembled in a small group of individuals’ hands.
The documentary consisted of five parts from the beginning of this trouble in the Sixties.
After 20 years, the laissez-faire policies of Ronald Regan boosted the financial industry with the fundamental help of leading American economists: Alan Greenspan – who declined to be interviewed – former Chairman of the Federal Reserve and Robert Rubin, Co-chairman of Goldman Sachs.
A strict cooperation between technology and finance created one of the most dangerous – and, under certain aspects, mysterious – financial products: the derivatives, a sort of ‘gambling’ bond issued to protect to from losses of companies’ failures.
The director edited the movie skilfully by alternating interviews and clips of the investigations realized by the senate hearings, in which appeared clearly the impressive inability of the managers to explain the causes of their bankruptcy.
Subsequently it presented a satisfactory analysis of the journalistic inquests made before and after this catastrophe – the Allan Sloan’s piece, senior editor for Fortune Magazine, stood out among the others for his complete comprehension of the phenomenon.
But the viewer will remain upset by watching and hearing the senseless answers of Daniel Sparks, former mortgages department head of Goldman Sachs, to the insistent questions of Senator Carl Lewin, chairman of the delegation.
Frederick Mishkin, governor of Fed from 2006 to 2008, provided, sadly, the funniest performance – during his interview he alternated vague answers with non-answers.
At a certain point, Charles Ferguson asked him why he left the Fed in August, and the economist answered that he had to revisit a text book.
The director’s remark was blazing: “I’m sure your text book is important, but in 2008, you know, somewhere more important things were going on in the world, don’t you think?”, leaving the economist with a empty look towards nowhere.
The movie carried on interviewing eminent economists and University teachers – for instance Martin Feldstein and Glenn Hubbard – who admitted, astonishingly without regret, their decisions when they were respectively members of the AIG and Capmark Financial Corporation.
The last part – “Where we are now” – consisted of a wrap-up on the current situation; the societies, American in particular, are becoming poorer and more unequal by obliging the governments to increase taxes, especially in education, and cutting public services – while the connections between banks and politics are become stricter.
Although Barack Obama promised to introduce regulation for the financial market, Wall Street carried on its lobbyst power, and William C. Dudley, the former Chief Economist of Goldman Sachs, the biggest financial institution using derivatives, was appointed president of the NY Federal Reserve.
Besides no one financial actor has been prosecuted for security fraud or accounting fraud.
The period after 2008 disorder created a lot of examples of films on the subject – ‘Capitalism: A love story’ (2009) by Michael Moore or ‘Debtocracy’ (2011), by Katerina Kitidi and Aris Hatzistefanou – but this work can be assessed the best, essentially for two strong reasons: the main, Charles Ferguson put the people in front to a camera, and the viewers can see directly who made mistakes and dirty profits.
The second, the journalistic seriousness explaining the facts, combined with a clever hint of irony, does not annoy the viewers by allowing them to enjoy intensely the narration.
Unlike the Moore or Kitidi and Hatzistefanou work, ‘Inside Job’ avoids propagandistic tones by providing all the necessary knowledge to think about a good alternative to the current system.